Tags: creative director
My friend fantasmenios used to talk about Pan Pan and how I should go to one of his gigs. In my mind he was this old guy who enjoyed making comics and played some fine music. I actually met him in person 365 days before our photo shoot. He was eating a crepe after a concert he had taken part in, and I happened to walk by and just had to interrupt the munching to say hi. Quite a strange way to meet someone. Days went by and I got to see really how talented this guy is, and how cool he is about that. I would be probably boasting with pride, peacock me, with my work framed all over my place, if I where him, but no Pan Pan, just keeps on keeping on, doing what he knows best, taking what’s inside and transforming it into brilliant art, whether it’s on a comic strip or through a song. If Athens had a soundtrack, he would definently be part of it and if I could chose some people that really get the beat of our times, Pan Pan would be the first in. So, here he is, the guy who performs in the orange bodysuit, in his apartment which felt like walking in his comic strips and with just 20 minutes of sleep (high five).
Let’s start with the cab that got away with your Nintendo. Maybe someone in Athens is writing music using your stuff. Could that be the case?
I just hope they threw my stuff away.
Really? Why? Did you have a lot of samples and music in there?
I had a load of samples. And many many songs I had written, but that’s not the point. I just hope they took the bag and threw it in the garbage, whoever found it. I don’t need to know that someone put a price on my stuff. I just have negative feelings for the cab driver who took my things.
Maybe she just got distracted and forgot about your case and drove off.
No, I don’t think so. For about a moth I would hang out on taxi stands and would spend 3 to 4 hours daily questioning drivers. I would give my number to people, hand out leaflets, you name it. It wasn’t just a Nintendo. It was all the equipment I managed to collect throughout the years. It was the equipment that helped me learn how to play music, how to make music. It must have cost around 2.000 euros, but emotionally it cost me a fortune.
If you had to pick a song, that would be played in a cab and would travel all around the city, which would that be?
You mean from the ones I have already written? Or a new one? Or maybe one that would keep on saying cab drivers suck?
Wouldn’t you write a song that would spread love and joy?
Love and joy? All my songs spread love and joy. That’s what people tell me at least.
Do you mind if someone’s listening to your songs, but not paying much attention, or if he’s watching a game while listening to you, or perhaps if he’s making love, or just driving around?
What makes me the happiest is when people make love listening to my songs. For real. A couple of times people have told me that, and that made me happy.
When are you the most creative? When you’re feeling low or on happy days?
On happy days I go out, take walks and enjoy myself. It’s when you’re feeling low that the best comes out of you.
Each week you make a comic strip based on a song voted by socomic.gr’s readers. Is that stressful?
It is, actually, but it’s a challenge I enjoy. And the fact that every day you have to post a comic strip makes it even better.
What was the hardest song you had to make a comic strip from?
I think Sufjan Stevens’ John Wayne Gacy Jr was the greatest challenge. The song is about a serial killer from the States, who’s killed about 35 people. I did a lot of research on that guy, read a lot of articles. He actually grew up as a nerd, not having many friends and all, and with a violent father, whom he never stopped loving. Later on he got himself a wife and a successful business, but realized he is actually gay. So he started hitting on young boys he hired in his store and when one of them refused to give in, they got in a fight and Jon Wayne Gacy Jr killed him. That was the moment he realized he really enjoyed killing people. So, in my story, my comic strip, I showed a story of a young boy backwards. A boy that was mentally challenged, but as you go back in time, you could see it was not his fault, but the fact that he got tangled up in the umbilical cord and his parents didn’t get the right mentoring.
I may no bee a comic pro, but I really enjoy the fact that you have older people in your stories.
Yes, recently I’ve started doing that.
I don’t know. I used to make comic strips about things I thought were fascinating. At the beginning I mean. I would make up really cool stories, about awesome things. But that need went away and I am glad it did. Now my comics are mostly about writing down things and moments I have lived. As you grow older, there are many things you forget. But if you somehow write them down and keep a sort of diary about them, they will always stay with you. So yes, my strips are filled with grandmas and grandpas lately, because I feel the need of keeping mine alive in my memories.
When people ask you what you do and you say comics, what do they have in mind?
Mickey Mouse or super heroes most of the times. And they assume you are making funny stories. That’s the worst.
You are truly generous when it comes to distributing your work online.
Trying to avoid piracy is stupid. I do it too, so I see things from both sides. I have absolutely no problem having my work shared online, actually I am happy with that happening. You know, if your work is good enough, eventually you’ll be able to make a profit out of it. Give people your work for free and sell something that’s worth having. It’s the internet era, everyone’s on a tablet, or a laptop or even his phone. So why pay for something you can listen to online whenever you want? But you will pay for an object you’ll appreciate. Something worth having in your bookshelf or album collection. That’s why I didn’t just make a CD out of my latest album, but I made a box with a cd, a tape and handcrafted work in it.
About the tape. How come you made a tape out of your latest album?
I’ve seen it before and liked the idea of it. I also recently found some mixtapes I had made in High School and spent some time listening to them. A tape is a cool object. I download music very often, but when I like something, I will buy the album on vinyl or tape. That’s the point, you know. If I have something on mp3, I can listen to it everywhere, because it’s digital. A CD on its own is like a coaster, it had no value as an object. A vinyl record, however, does.
A tape also.
Isn’t that a bit hipster? I mean, ok vinyl records I understand, they give you a different sound effect, but a tape? Why?
Because the tape is actually a mechanism. It is this thing that has a tape inside, which rolls and plays music. It’s something! A CD is nothing. It’s not about being hipster, it’s an object, whereas the other is not.
Why are you wearing an orange bodysuit when performing live?
I like orange.
Why do you like orange?
I don’t know. I just do. It’s a nice color. But ok, the thing with the bodysuits is that for us it’s really cool, because we arrive at the venue space, have the sound check, hang out with our friends and then we go backstage, wear the bodysuits and it’s like we’re these different people. We have a group hug and then go on stage.
So it’s like becoming someone else.
Yes, and that helps. I am a quiet and shy person and when you go on stage you have to be fierce.
Do you get anxious before going on stage?
A little bit. But I don’t reach the point that I get paralyzed and completely block, it’s just the amount that keeps you excited.
Where are you most likely to meet girls? Through comics or music?
It’s the stage thing isn’t it?
When you’re doing comics, you’re on your own. Maybe you see a girl pass by your window, in my case my neighbor, but that’s just about it. But seeing someone go on stage, for some reason, adds up some sort of attractiveness to them. I used to go to gigs, and I would see the people on stage and would think to myself: oh, they have it so sweet and right, they’re just doing their own thing, not giving a shit about anything else, not having any bills to pay. But it’s not like that naturally.
What about your other band? Your second band?
It’s Jenny Bocci, then it became Karavolida and then Noufaro.
When do you decide to move forward to a new name?
When we write eleven songs. You see every band will keep their name unchanged, but will make different albums with different names. We have the same album name and change the name of our band.
Has anyone asked you to perform live?
And will you do that?
No. It’s just between us friends. We do it for our own pleasure.
Who are in the band?
It has been me and George Goussis from day one and then we have friends coming and going.
Do you remember the lyrics by heart?
Some of them yes. But will just get together one night and write the song then and there. It’s more an instant kind of thing. What you should know though is this: everything we mention on our songs has actually happened in real life. Always. People think we’re being funny, but no. Each and every word reflects on something that has happened in real life.
A few comments on the things pictured and said above:
Apart from Pan Pan, this photo shoot has another guest star, the tiger. Locate the tiger in the pictures and get a chance to win Pan Pan’s orange bodysuit. / The pictures have a slight orange filter to them, because it is Pan Pan’s favorite color. / The SOMEDAY wall in his bedroom took a while to finish. It has glow in the dark paint on it. I am glad it was ready before our photo shoot. / The shirt he wears when designing actually belongs to his father. / A friend of his told him that she only agrees with him being on imatiothiki only if the blue robot and his landlady appear on this post. I took a photo of the blue robot. I met the landlady. Couldn’t take a picture of her, but I promise I met her. There. / Pan Pan is actually a very good soccer player. But his basketball outfit seemed so much nicer. And the duct tape was supposed to be a behind the scenes picture, but hey, yolo. / The Building Stories kit is made by one of his favorite comic artists, Chris Ware. / I was surprised to hear that my favorite song from his latest album, 3991 plus 1 flamingos, managed to get in the last minute. He had second thoughts. I believe it’s a brilliant song. Long live second thoughts.